One of the major trends transforming how hardware and software is acquired and utilized is the ‘consumerization of IT’. This trend has changed how technologies and business applications are designed and delivered, and it is now reshaping how storage solutions are architected and administered in the Cloud, according to a recent Gartner report.
The consumerization of IT has resulted from a combination of market forces.
First, corporate end-users and executives have become increasingly frustrated with the inefficiencies of traditional, on-premise software and systems, which have proven to be too cumbersome and costly to meet their day-to-day needs.
Second, IT departments have failed to keep pace with the rapidly evolving needs of their corporate constituents. Rather than anticipate their needs, most IT departments have trouble even responding to their routine requests. As a result, acquiring new systems and software becomes a slow and overly complicated ordeal. Impatient and more ‘empowered’ corporate employees are finding it is much easier to simply make their own purchase decisions to meet their needs.
At the same time, the availability of increasingly powerful mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, at reasonable retail prices, has made it easy for professionals to acquire these tools and a growing array of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business applications, rather than continue to rely on the systems and software supplied by their employers.
The growth of ‘shadow IT’ may have been fought in the past, but this resistance is quickly giving way to a rising number of organizations adopting ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policies.
According to a recent Gartner report entitled, “Forecast: Consumer Digital Storage Needs, 2010-2016”, this same trend is now taking hold in the storage market. The report predicts that consumers will store over a third of their digital content in the Cloud by 2016, more than five times the 7 percent of consumer content stored in the Cloud in 2011.
The author of the report, Shalini Verma, says, “Historically, consumers have generally stored content on their PCs, but as we enter the post-PC era, consumers are using multiple connected devices… This is leading to a massive increase in new user-generated content that requires storage [and] with the emergence of the personal cloud, this fast-growing consumer digital content will quickly get disaggregated from connected devices.”
In fact, Gartner estimates worldwide consumer digital storage needs will grow from 329 exabytes in 2011 to 4.1 zettabytes in 2016.
Gartner analyst Verma predicts, “Cloud storage will grow with the emergence of the personal cloud, which in turn will simplify the direct-to-cloud model, allowing users to directly store user-generated content in the Cloud.”
More importantly in THINKstrategies’ view is the inevitable crossover of these consumer trends into the corporate environment as professionals demand more flexible and economical Cloud storage alternatives to meet their business needs.
Smart IT administrators and corporate executives should start evaluating their Cloud storage alternatives now in anticipation of this inescapable reality, rather than reacting again to their employees’ escalating expectations.